I always like to interject a little bit of my current life with my previous debt and money experiences. So, I thought I’d share a conversation with you which I had with a good friend last month. His wedding was two weeks ago and I was the best man.
I’m not usually one for public speaking so it was a daunting, tantalising situation which I was eager to complete as quickly as possible. But, overall it was a successful speech with a couple of laughs and some character building stories for the groom.
Speaking to my friend last month he said, “This wedding is costing us a fortune”. It led me to think, what should a wedding cost and why is it so expensive.
The Cost Of A Wedding
On researching this piece I asked friends, family and the wonderful internet for its input. Both friends and family said that weddings cost a lot and concurred that the reason was because venues hike up their prices when they know it’s a wedding. I thought, surely that’s ‘wedding-ist’?
The average wedding costs just over £20,000 in 2012. It’s a lot of money for one day. So, where does the money actually go?
- Wedding Dress
- Male Outfits
- Hair and Beauty
- Photographer / Videographer
- Wedding cake
- Chair Covers
- Meal & Drinks
- Transportation for Guests from church (if church wedding) to reception
A large percentage of people are choosing to delay their honeymoon until they can afford to go away.
The most expensive part of the wedding is feeding and providing beverages for the guests at the main meal. This can cost £80 per person. With 70 people being invited that can mean the total food and drink cost exceeds £5000 alone. There is also usually an evening buffet which will add additional expense.
It’s about setting expectations. If you’re creating the wedding to end all weddings like my friend, then be prepared for a hefty bill. However, if you just want to get married it can be considerably cheaper.
Budget For Your Wedding
Setting a budget will help you get your dream wedding at a reasonable cost. What is a realistic budget for a wedding, £10,000? It’s below the £20,000 average but surely you can have a wedding for £10,000? It’s still a lot of money after all.
So, I started by creating a spreadsheet and listing everthing that the standard wedding would need. I used the above list to help.
I limited the numbers to 60 friends and family members. It’s tight but more can be invited in the evening. The meant the budget I had set was:
- Venue – £1,000
- Wedding Dress – £1000
- Male Outfits – £500
- Entertainment – £500
- Rings – £500
- Cars – £200
- Flowers – £800
- Hair and Beauty – £150
- Invitations – £200
- Decorations – £300
- Photographer / Videographer – £300
- Wedding cake – £2o0
- Chair Covers – £150
- Meal & Drinks – £4,000
- Transportation for Guests from church (if church wedding) to reception – £150
- Honeymoon – delayed
I managed to piece together all of these parts by getting quotes from local suppliers. I had to haggle on a couple of things and drop the standard for somethings too.
The areas I had to compromise on were the photographer, who originally wanted £1,000 but wouldn’t come down to £300. I found that the local college has a photography school and qualified photographers who are fully trained and starting out would take my photos for a fraction of the price. The quality was excellent too!
The wedding cake was originally £350 but I managed to haggle them down to £200. Large supermarkets and luxury shops will create cakes for £200 for the specialist cake makers are being forced to cut their prices too.
The decorations were the basic standard package so it wouldn’t be anything overly-fancy but would be sufficient for the event.
If All Else Fails, Haggle!
We hate to haggle in Britain, whereas across the rest of the world haggling and driving down the price to get a bargain is common practice. As a result, Brits miss out of the best prices because they refuse to ask for an extra 10% off.
Haggling doesn’t necessarily need to be agressive, or even face to face. It can be a polite email saying, thanks for your prices but based on my budget I can only afford £X (X is your number by the way). If the service provider can do it for your price they will; it’s a recession after all. If they really can’t then there are plenty of other companies happy to make your day special and stick within your budget.
Don’t Start Life In Debt
If you don’t have a budget, then you won’t know what the total cost of your wedding could possible be. Sit and make a budget for everything you want. Be realistic, do you need the 10 tier cake, or would 2 be enough?
The last thing you want to do is start your married life in debt and struggling to exist while repaying debt from the wedding day. My advice would be to save hard, plan well and enjoy your wedding day!